The Digger’s Grave [song by Charles Thatcher, 1857]

[Editor: This song by Charles Thatcher was published in Thatcher’s Colonial Songster, 1857.]

The Digger’s Grave.

The sun brightly shone upon gully and hill,
And our party were all in high glee;
For we’d stumbled at length on a piece of good luck —
The lead we’d long sought for at last had been struck,
And the gold in our claim we could see.

Day succeeded to day, and week after week,
On the spot found its lingering still;
We rose ’ere the sun’s faint beams shone in the east,
Endured its full glare, and our toil we ne’er ceased,
Till it sank to its rest ’neath the hill.

Each evening we’d sit round the bright blazing fire,
And our talk would be always of home;
And how we’d return to our dear native town,
With our kindred and friends of our youth settle down,
And for riches no more have to roam.

In fancy we’d cross the wild stormy main;
In the arms of affection be clashed;
Whilst objects, but dimly remembered, would rise,
And suddenly gladden our wondering eyes,
And our hands by kind friends would be grasped.

But alas! oh, how short and how fleeting is life
Poor James, our mate, sickened one day;
Prompt assistance we got, but it proved all in vain,
No human aid could give relief to his pain,
For his life fast was ebbing away.

The cold film of death was now glazing his eye,
As he beckoned me to his bedside;
“Tell my mother,” said he, “I loved her to the last,”
And then a faint smile o’er his pallid face passed,
And in my arms calmly he died.

On the ranges, beneath a wide spreading gum tree,
Where in peace the wild kangaroo dwelt;
The mortal remains of poor James there we laid;
And although not a word by our party was said,
Bitter scalding tears showed what each felt.

And although to our birthplace we’ve got back again,
And in safety have crossed the wild wave,
We think of poor James; and fond Memory still,
Recalls the gum tree on the top of the hill,
Which marks the poor digger’s lone grave.

Chas. R. Thatcher.

Charles R. Thatcher. Thatcher’s Colonial Songster, Containing All the Choice Local Songs, Parodies, &c., of the Celebrated Chas. R. Thatcher, Charlwood & Son, Melbourne, 1857, pages 26-27

Editor’s notes:
lead = a well-defined bed of auriferous wash-dirt in a terrace or stream bed [see: Ritchie Nevillea and Ray Hooker. “An Archaeologist’s Guide to Mining Terminology” [PDF], Australasian Historical Archaeology, number 15, 1997, page 6]

[Editor: Corrected Recals to Recalls.]

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